A Collection of Strange Beliefs, Amusing Deceptions, and Dangerous Delusions

From Abracadabra to Zombies

reader comments: reiki

7 Feb 2012
Your argument that the placebo effect is responsible for any healing that follows a Reiki treatment falls apart when you consider the healing that animals can experience with Reiki. Animals have no preconceived ideas about Reiki; no expectations about a treatment. There is no placebo effect with animals.

I've seen a horse who was terrified of thunderstorms fall asleep during one while receiving Reiki. This horse was battling a severe and unresponsive case of cellulitis (a potentially life-threatening skin infection) so bad that his leg had swollen to three times its normal size. The skin had stretched as far as it could and then split open, leaving an open wound about 4" wide that wouldn't heal. After seeing no improvement for a solid month, during which he'd received daily injections of antibiotics and anti-inflammatories, the vet confessed she could do no more for him, and had discussed the possiblity of euthanasia with his owner. This is when his owner asked me to give him Reiki. Three days after receiving Reiki his wound had completely healed over with new skin. Not the way open wounds usually heal, gradually, from the outside in, but completely. The swelling subsided gradually over the next few weeks, until he was well enough to compete as a show horse again.

In the stall next to him was another horse that had been injured in a horrible steeplechase accident years before. Surgery on his torn tendons had restored his ability to walk but after five years he was still lame, unable to bear the weight of a rider, and his vet had declared the condition permanent. His owner loved the horse so much that she kept kept him as a pet, accepting that she would never ride him again. After two Reiki treatments for which neither of us had any expectations, this horse was completely sound, able to be ridden with no problem.

No responsible Reiki practitioner would dream of suggesting that clients supplant conventional medicine with Reiki, but there's a reason it's becoming more widely offered in hospitals. It's proving itself a powerful and effective adjunct therapy to traditional medicine, especially where conventional medicine doesn't quite cut it.

Research shows a big difference between the response of subjects in randomized blind studies between those who get treatment from actual Reiki Practitioners and those who are "treated" with sham Reiki by unqualified people who go through the motions of of a Reiki treatment. http://greenlotus.hubpages.com/hub/Reiki_Really_Works-A_Groundbreaking_Scientific_Study This might be a good time for you to reconsider the possibility that Reiki works for reasons other than the placebo effect.

~M. B.

reply: Thank you for your civil and direct criticism of my position on Reiki. Since I first responded to you I have looked at http://greenlotus.hubpages.com/hub/Reiki_Really_Works-A_Groundbreaking_Scientific_Study. To my surprise it was a page that I was familiar with. Obviously, we view the content there differently. Anyway, I hope you will take the time to read my response.

You wrote: Your argument that the placebo effect is responsible for any healing that follows a Reiki treatment falls apart when you consider the healing that animals can experience with Reiki. Animals have no preconceived ideas about Reiki; no expectations about a treatment. There is no placebo effect with animals.

reply: I will be the first to admit that there is a lot of confusion over the use of the expression 'the placebo effect.' Many different kinds of things have been attributed incorrectly to a placebo. I review the many different kinds of things that have been attributed to placebos in my Skeptic's Dictionary entry on the placebo effect, so I won't go over the whole thing here. Anyway, one thing that has been attributed to a placebo effect is the effect of what is called 'conditioning.' You remember Pavlov's dogs: he rang the bell when he fed them and he conditioned them to salivate by just ringing the bell, without presenting them with food. Other studies have found that the rituals and practices (like getting stuck with a needle in a clinical setting) can condition both humans and animals to have physical responses, especially of the opioid system. Humans and other animals can be conditioned to release such chemical substances as endorphins, catecholamines, cortisol, and adrenaline. It is not strictly true that animals have no expectations in treatment. None of us do if it is the first time we are being treated, but dogs, horses, and humans do expect effects from treatments. Shots of morphine will make a dog salivate. Any shots, even of saline solution, after that will make the dog salivate. Of course, the animals may not be aware of their expectation, but conditioning studies show conclusively that the bodies of animals do respond in expectation of results. Not all cases that are attributed to the placebo effect are attributed to expectation effects, however, and of those that are, the expectation does not have to be something the patient--human or animal--is consciously aware of. Anyway, I wouldn't argue that the attribution of benefits to Reiki treatments are all due to expectation, in either horse or human.

Your experience with treating a horse with Reiki is interesting. You write:

I've seen a horse who was terrified of thunderstorms fall asleep during one while receiving Reiki. This horse was battling a severe and unresponsive case of cellulitis (a potentially life-threatening skin infection) so bad that his leg had swollen to three times its normal size. The skin had stretched as far as it could and then split open, leaving an open wound about 4" wide that wouldn't heal. After seeing no improvement for a solid month, during which he'd received daily injections of antibiotics and anti-inflammatories, the vet confessed she could do no more for him, and had discussed the possibility of euthanasia with his owner. This is when his owner asked me to give him Reiki. Three days after receiving Reiki his wound had completely healed over with new skin. Not the way open wounds usually heal, gradually, from the outside in, but completely. The swelling subsided gradually over the next few weeks, until he was well enough to compete as a show horse again.

reply: I don't doubt that Reiki treatment calmed a frightened horse or that this horse healed after your treatments. As I wrote to you before, I wouldn't attribute the healing to conditioning or any other placebo effect. The healing could have been due to the Reiki treatment, but it could also have been due to the antibiotics and anti-inflammatories kicking in later than the vet expected. It's also possible that some unknown factor is responsible for the healing occurring when it did and how it did. Given our knowledge of the effectiveness of antibiotics and anti-inflammatories and the fallibility of human judgment, I would not rule out the benefit being mainly due to the vet's treatments. Anyway, you are right to suggest that the anecdote alone doesn't prove anything and that we should look to blinded scientific studies. You were kind enough to provide a reference to a site that does indeed claim that there are many studies proving that energy medicine is not an illusion and that real Reiki works better than sham Reiki. As I noted above, I had already visited that site. Let me explain why I was not persuaded to change my mind about energy medicine or Reiki after looking at the information provided there.

While the site is very optimistic and makes several bold claims about scientific studies demonstrating the reality of subtle energy and Reiki treatments, there is absolutely no data provided on the site. That is, you have to go elsewhere to find the actual studies being touted. While I haven't viewed the reports of the studies, I am familiar with the work of at least two researchers, both of whom I have found to be reliable and honest in their assessment of alternative health treatments. One of them is mentioned on the page you sent me to: Edzard Ernst. To quote:

As recently as 2009, reviews of randomized studies of Reiki research conducted by Edzard Ernst, M.D., Ph.D. and his colleagues at the University of Exeter, concluded that most were poorly designed and presented insufficient evidence to suggest that Reiki was an effective method for healing any condition.

I have read Trick or Treatment: The Undeniable Facts about Alternative Medicine by Ernst and Simon Singh. Ernst used to be a professor of alternative medicine, so he comes at the subject with much knowledge and few axes to grind. The book is a few years old but at the time of its publication (2008) the evidence failed to show the effectiveness of Reiki for any condition. Singh and Ernst did admit that "There are several clinical trials of reiki and some of their results seem to suggest that this approach is beneficial for a range of conditions." The main complaint about the studies was that they used small samples and many didn't have adequate controls. Of course, there is always hope that larger studies will be done that use adequate controls and that these will be replicated with positive results. These studies do not yet exist, despite what the folks at greenlotus.hubpages.com say.

Another book I've read that covers the clinical trials done on Reiki is Snake Oil Science: The Truth about Complementary and Alternative Medicine by R. Barker Bausell. Bausell worked for several years directing the clinical trials for the NIH's alternative medicine branch (NCCAM) and he agrees with the assessment of Ernst and Singh. Again, there is hope that future studies will be larger, better designed, and replicated with positive results.

I also checked the Cochrane Collaboration to see if there are some newer studies that use large samples and adequate controls, but the results were the same. There are studies that have found beneficial effects from Reiki and other "touch therapies." The authors concluded, however: "This review suffers from a major limitation: the small number of studies and insufficient data. As a result of inadequate data, the effects of touch therapies cannot be clearly declared. This review shows that there is still a need for higher quality studies on the effectiveness of touch therapies in pain relief, especially studies on Healing Touch and Reiki." The Cochrane Collaboration is an international group of more-or-less unbiased experts and they could only find three Reiki studies that were done well enough to consider.

Anyway, I remain open to the possibility that energy medicine is real, but I await the large-scale studies done with proper controls and replications before I change my mind.

Your other anecdote is also interesting:

In the stall next to him was another horse that had been injured in a horrible steeplechase accident years before. Surgery on his torn tendons had restored his ability to walk but after five years he was still lame, unable to bear the weight of a rider, and his vet had declared the condition permanent. His owner loved the horse so much that she kept kept him as a pet, accepting that she would never ride him again. After two Reiki treatments for which neither of us had any expectations, this horse was completely sound, able to be ridden with no problem.

reply: I can't say that the Reiki didn't heal the horse, but all we know for sure is that the treatments were given and after that the horse was able to be ridden. It would be odd to find that after a five-year interval the surgery would suddenly take effect, but I wonder if the owner had tried to ride the horse just prior to the Reiki treatments. Maybe the owner just didn't try hard enough to work the horse until after the Reiki. Until I am given a good reason to believe in the plausibility of energy healing, however, I think I will remain skeptical. I don't expect you to change your mind about Reiki, but I hope you will reconsider the way you view the placebo effect. I would not attribute the recovery of the second horse to the placebo effect, either, even though I am not convinced that it was Reiki that did the trick.


20 Jan 2011
I have a friend who is involved in reiki practices, but she is practicing only on herself and her friends and relatives.

reply: I think 'practicing' is the perfect description of what she's doing.

She tried to depict the reiki - but she lost me at the part where the energy that can heal comes from the symbols and Jesus (?). I am trying to be openminded, to some point of course, toward the possibilities of the human body, but I don't see what Jesus and some symbols can do to heal someone. And when did reiki became linked to Jesus?

reply: Reiki was created in Japan in 1922 by Mikao Usui. Since that time, others have related the practice to various kinds of energy healing or faith healing that have been practiced by shamans, witch doctors, and traditional healers for centuries, if not millennia. It is not unusual for alternative thinkers to be eclectic in their practices and to join together two or more traditions. Perhaps they think it gives their medicine more power by joining disparate traditions.

Also she told me that she recognized which part of the bodies of 2 people with whom she talked over the phone are in pain. This is also something that is hard for me to believe - I doubt that this can work from a distance.

reply: Healing at a distance should be a clue that maybe something other than energy manipulation, chakra release, restoration of harmony, etc. is going on. Instead, practitioners of various forms of alternative healing claim that space (and time) are irrelevant to this form of magic.

At least she told me that the practitioners have some rules which they obey - for example, when someone has a cancer the practitioner tells him to go to hospital and to rely on the conventional medicine. But people are also saying this for homeopaths.

I am sure that she sincerely believes in the effectiveness of reiki despite the evidence to the contrary.

Best Regards, Eli

reply: Belief in the effectiveness of reiki is usually based on the fact that the practitioner has seen it work firsthand. What this means is that she has gotten positive feedback from people. If everyone who submitted to another person's laying on of hands reacted with a shrug, we wouldn't be having this conversation. But people respond to these gestures, suggestions, and expectations. There is scant evidence, much less attempt to produce evidence, for any actual physiogical change from diseased condition to healthy condition by anyone practicing energy medicine. Only the delusional beyond redemption try to cure cancer with placebo medicine, so your friend's policy of sending cancer patients to the proper medical practitioner is common rather than rare among energy healers. Many take the hedging-your-bets approach and use reiki along with science-based treatments.

The subjective validation energy healers receive is all they need to justify their belief in what they're doing. Failures are easily dismissed. Nobody's perfect, you know, and some people are simply unresponsive.

Many times the validation is profuse because the patient has not gotten satisfaction from science-based medicine. For many conditions, apparently, the best medicine is to give people hope and let them know you care about their well-being. One might argue that energy medicine is just one more proof of the positive value of delusion. But when one weighs the harm done to those who seek the placebo healer and die because they avoided a science-based treatment that is effective more than 80% of the time, one sees that that argument appears stronger than it really is because it omits some very relevant contrary evidence.


1 Dec 2010
I don't know if you have had any other responses to your article, but here is mine. Sad that you experienced one treatment by someone who was apparently not very practiced. Reiki IS a hands-on modality unless the client requests otherwise. It can also be done at a distance by those practitioners trained for it. The energy knows what is needed and where to go.

reply: So why does the energy need you to direct it?

The practitioner can feel the changes in the client's energy. The client can often feel the changes himself. I am not the only practitioner to have client success with tumors, blood clots, sprains, strains, breaks, tears, emotional issues and - separately - mechanical issues.

reply: I don't deny that you and your clients feel things. I don't see the evidence that these feelings are triggered by anything more than your emotional reactions to your movements and suggestions (verbal or non-verbal) and responses from the client.

As with other energy practices and most Western medical practice, often a single visit is not sufficient. Sometimes it is. The body cannot always heal immediately, but it must heal in layers.

reply: Heal in layers? That expression is meaningful to you?

Expect miracles, but allow them to happen in their own time. I would be happy to treat your next injury so that you have additional experience to base your article on.

Sherry Barret
Reiki Master

reply: Thanks for the offer. If I ever feel in need of a reiki master, I'll look you up.


1 Oct 2010
I see that you use the word
manipulate in your description of what Reiki practitioners do. As a professional Reiki Teacher and Practitioner who has been utilizing the healing practice of Reiki for over a decade I can assure you that we do NOT manipulate ki, or anything else in a Reiki Session!

reply: Since you people who practice reiki don't know what it is you are doing, it is difficult for those of us who are trying to understand your actions to critique your practices. Some call it "palm healing" and seem to think that energy is being transferred from the palm of the "healer" to the patient. I call it manipulation because the practitioner waves his or her hands (manus=hand in Latin) and clearly believes some sort of effect is occuring on chi or ki. Call it what you want, it's placebo medicine.

Also, you do not need to believe in it for it to "work", nor should Reiki practitioners make any claims about what Reiki does or does not do. Healing and Curing are different. Reiki brings the body back into balance and that is unique for each individual.

reply: "Brings the body back into balance and this is unique for each invididual" is pure emptiness to me. What does that even mean?

Reiki is not a religion, although Usui Sensei was a lay Buddhist Monk as well as a gifted martial artist among other things. Buddhists do not feel that Buddhism is a religion. We westerners have clumped it into the "world religions", but it is more a set of philosophies rather than dogma. And in the event that you do not understand what you may experience from fasting, meditation and contemplation..we do not feel his visions were hallucinations.

One can only understand this if one has EXPERIENCED this for themselves. Reiki is a spiritual healing practice, not unlike meditation, only the added benefit is that it has the unique way of bringing the body back into balance. It does not claim to cure, but it does have a healing effect on mind, body and spirit which helps individuals to experience a better quality of life when practiced or received consistently.

reply: That's one way to look at it. Another way is to see the feeling one gets from thinking one is tapping into some higher realm of being as illusory, even if pleasant. I don't deny that many people who go from a state of despair to a state of believing they are being protected by an all-powerful benign universal force experience a shift to a "better quality of life." For most, the change isn't that drastic and involves going from a state of hopelessness to a state of hope provided by the ministrations of the alternative "healer." I think they are deluded (both the healer and the healed, though I think you said nobody is healed by reiki), no matter how pleased or happy they are. Positive delusions become problematic when they lead to harm, such as avoiding a proven science-based medical treatment because you're sure god or some energy will take care of business.

What is more important is that Reiki does indeed help people, whether one feels it is purely "placebo" or not. I learned Reiki over a decade ago to help my husband with the chronic pain he suffered from a nearly fatal construction accident which crushed both feet and left him with back and neck injuries. The relief he experienced after one session was enough for me to take training and there has not been one day since that I have not used Reiki for him or myself. Although we do not know what the mechanism of action is for Reiki ( and yes, this is being studied) at this time, there is enough anecdotal evidence that Reiki programs are now found in most major hospitals and healing centers across the states and millions practice Reiki as the accepted alternative complimentary medicine that the National Institute of Health as classified it.

reply: Yes, I know reiki is spreading and many medical schools are offering instruction in many forms of complementary or integative medicine. I know that the NIH has an alternative medicine section (NCCAM) and I agree with those who think it is a waste of taxpayers' money. Medicine is medicine. There is no need to pretend there is one medicine that works according to natural laws and forces, and another medicine that works by magic.

It is important to remember that we did not know the mechanism of action for aspirin for nearly 70 years, yet we still used it successfully.

reply: At least with aspirin we had a chance to analyze it, determine what its active molecules are, and test it. With reiki we have nothing to analyze and nothing to test except as part of our continuing attempt to understand placebo medicine.

I would recommend that people try Reiki for themselves rather than take the advice of those who may not have had enough treatments to really understand the value of it. I also recommend that people learn more about Reiki from credible practitioners such as Pamela Miles, William Rand and others who have helped to mainstream Reiki. There are many diverse people who use Reiki and some of them may come across as "quacks" and just like in any profession some do not do their profession any favors with how they conduct themselves.

The Internet offers all kinds of information, much of it is not accurate. This is how the Catholic Bishops came to their erroneous conclusion..much to the dismay of thousands of nuns using Reiki to help those in need.

Reiki is one of the fastest growing traditional complimentary medicines in the world today and most credible Reiki Practitioners and Teachers are doing their very best to help educate the general public of the benefits of Reiki in ways that can be understood and accepted. Let's do try to be "open" to this. I think people have a difficult time wrapping themselves around anything they do not understand and may actually limit themselves by not allowing themselves to experience something new for themselves. Instead there is a tendency to just take someone else's word for it..

Reiki is safe, simple, non manipulative. Nothing is applied or ingested. It is administered through light touch, or non-touch. It can be learned for self treatment, or you can receive from a friend or professional. Our own personal experience is the greatest teacher.

reply: Yes, personal experience is the greatest teacher. Mine has taught me that when there is overwhelming evidence from randomized controlled studies that a healing practice is placebo medicine, my personal belief that the practice is tapping into a universal life force is probably a delusion. If reiki could cure my cancer or make my severed limb grow back or even eliminate my cold or flu symptoms, I'd believe my experience before I'd believe a thousand well-designed, peer-reviewed scientific studies.

Hopefully those of you who may have not had the best Reiki experiences will try it again with a different practitioner and find value in it. And even if you do not, perhaps you will encourage people to try it and let their experience speak for itself.

KRMT Beth Crawford ~ Southern NH Reiki Center

reply: Yes, I know it works.. So do many placebo treatments.

Beth replies:

6 Oct 2010
Hi Bob, thanks for responding. How do you know it works? Have you ever received a treatment yourself?

reply: Yes, I tried it once, but it had no effect. I know it works in the sense that it has many satisfied customers because of all the testimonials.

What exactly are you basing your conclusions on? Have you gathered all your information from credible sources or leaders in this field, or the emerging (in the west) field of energy medicine? I don't wave my hands all over the place, but I do place my hands methodically over the major organs of the body. And as far as "we practitioners not knowing what we are doing" I am not sure I agree with that. When I chose to learn Reiki in order to help alleviate my husband's chronic pain issues I knew that I was going to receive an initiation that would allow myself to be a conduit for this particular form of vibrational medicine, and I am very well aware of what I am doing, or more importantly here, NOT doing.

What none of us knows, at this point is HOW Reiki "does what it does", however that has not prevented many prestigious hospitals around the country from creating Reiki programs for their clients, not to mention the millions that practice Reiki as complimentary therapy to their primary work, whether as a Doctor, Nurse or other healthcare professional or those in any other field. Reiki is for anyone. And, as I mentioned before, not knowing the mechanism of action for aspirin did not prevent anyone from using it successfully for 70 years first before coming to that understanding! Yes I do believe that the energy field of the client is effected.

We know that the practice of Reiki helps to re-balance the individual in just the way appropriate for them at the time of treatment.

reply: I think it would be more appropriate to say that you "believe" reiki helps (the universal weaseler) re-balance the individual." As I said above, this claim is meaningless. What is your standard for determining the before and after state of balance?

However in the practice of Reiki, practitioners do not do practices that manipulate the physical body in ANY way. Nor are practitioners consciously manipulating the energy field of the receiver. This is done in cranial sacral and other work, perhaps even therapeutic touch, but is NOT done in Reiki practice.

It is my understanding that a placebo has a certain degree of expectancy around it, that it is said to do some particular action that brings a person relief of symptoms of which the client is made aware of and is told that it will help.

reply: Sometimes.

Reiki practice does not do that. People don't need to know anything about Reiki and do not need to believe it will help them in any way. Practitioners make no claims about curing, and certainly do not diagnose. However Reiki does bring about the relaxation response in most individuals which does cause some very real changes to occur in the body that can be measured.

And studies have been done using sham practitioners doing distant healing which have NOT worked, yet the ones truly practicing have brought about the same result as if they were there in person. To those unfamiliar with vibrational medicine, these things may appear to be strange, but energy medicine is part of the traditional medical system used for thousands of years unlike conventional medicine which is relatively "new" in the big scheme of things.

reply: Personal hygiene, vaccinations, and nutrition are relatively new, but that doesn't mean they're inferior to ancient practices. Medical practices should be valued for their effectiveness and safety, not for their age.

We (credible Reiki Practitioners) hope to see Reiki integrated into all areas of our healthcare system as well as the lives of all beings. Most of us have practiced long enough to see the accumulative benefits of Reiki as a healing practice that also helps with spiritual development. My recommendation is to find a credible practitioner and take consistent treatments or become trained yourself and also your personal experiences to be what you base you conclusions on.

Perhaps you should check out the information offered by the national institute of health or visit the site of Pamela Miles or William Rand to become more aware of the current information available regarding the healing practice of Reiki. But, if you are simply all about being a skeptic, and not helping people to find well being, then that might not appeal to you and I respect your right to your opinion.

Reiki Blessings,

reiki: Now I know what a reiki blessing is: agree with me and help people or be a skeptic and don't help people. Thanks for the clarification.



8 April 2009
I would like to respond to your article on Reiki. My mother is a Reiki practitioner, and I have undergone many Reiki sessions. I do not believe in its spiritual aspects, but I have experienced what I conclude to be physiologically conditioned responses, and/ or placebo benefits from Reiki. As with many homeopathic remedies, there's an unfortunate amount of self-delusion and straight up fraud that takes place with Reiki. However, according to what I've been told, Reiki should always be given and taught freely, and moreover, the self-proclaimed 'true' practitioners would never propose Reiki as a substitution for medical treatment, only as an adjunct to it. So let's assume that not every Reiki practitioner in an opportunistic, fraudulent, profiteering scam artist, in the same manner that we assume not every Catholic priest is a child-molester. As the science surrounding placebos and physiological conditioning has shown time and again, there is, in fact, a very real, very strong mind-body connection.

After listening to my mother and her Reiki friends talk at length, it seems apparent to me that, all spiritual beliefs aside, the difference between 'conditioning' and 'ki balancing' is essentially a linguistic one. Skeptics and spiritualists are talking about the same process, but calling it something different. There's nothing in the philosophy of Reiki that precludes scientific fact(s). But many Reiki practitioners claim there's some mystical force that science hasn't advanced far enough to measure yet, while the skeptics claim it's complete superstition, which science will *never* measure, because it doesn't exist.

I think the best explanation is, actually, somewhere in the middle. The outward actions involved in 'rebalancing Ki' and the outward actions involved in classical conditioning are identical, because they are, in effect, completely arbitrary. In either case, some outside stimulus programs a neurological response. If some people understand 'rebalancing Ki' more easily than 'reprogramming neuroreceptors,' it doesn't really matter in the end, so long as they're garnering some relief or enjoyment from the experience-- just like with acupuncture.

reply: There is one major difference between thinking you are rebalancing ki and thinking you are manipulating a person by suggestion and conditioning: you can scientifically test the latter. In fact, they've already been tested under many different conditions and scientists are advancing our understanding of how they work. We know no more about ki today than we did a thousand years ago. The reason for this is obvious. Ki is a chimera. More important, by scientifically studying the power of suggestion and conditioning we can learn their limits and avoid potential harm.

Incidentally, I once claimed to my mother's Reiki group that the hitherto scientifically un-detected Ki energy might, in fact, be completely measurable, but listed under neurological terms. Their response was to agree, after I explained it in-depth. Because they're spiritualists, not scientists, they understand and classify their experiences more intuitively than logically. In their version of perception, things get different labels; but that doesn't mean those labels are necessarily wrong-- just different. As a skeptic myself, I am ALL about dispelling myths and overcoming superstition, and I feel both hamper the progress of humanity. But as good skeptics, we should take care to avoid stereotypes (i.e. "Reiki is superstition fueled by self-delusion and/or self-serving fraud") and assumptions (i.e. "Western scientific terms and definitions are the only ones relevant"). As long as the philosophy in question allows its proponents to think with an open, critical mind, it shouldn't be immediately relegated or dismissed. There are many different vocabularies that describe matter and its relation to energy. To Einstein, they were obviously identical, but only because he was using very specific definitions of both terms. That doesn't mean that the DOE can all of a sudden start calling itself the Dept. of Mass and expect everyone to conflate the two.

reply: Nor can the DOE call itself the Dept of Ki. In any case, I disagree with the notion that ki and conditioning are just two linguistic ways of referring to the same thing. I think it is clear that one refers to a substance and the other to a process. The process can be studied; the substance cannot because it doesn't exist.

My point (likely over-stated now, but regardless...), is that vocabulary and context are simply methods of communicating reality. Language is mutable and almost always dependent on the users' perceptions and opinions. But no matter how you choose to define an apple, it remains an apple regardless. True Reiki has the same potential benefits as any other conditioned placebo (like acupuncture), even if the skeptics dismiss *all* of its practitioners based on the fraudulent/ deluded actions of a *fraction* of its practitioners.

Ian Massey Univ. of South Carolina Dept. of Languages, Literature, and Culture Columbia, SC


24 Dec 2003
In the 90's, I watched my choices for CEU's (Continuing Education Units) in Nursing, slowly start to weigh heavy, into the Holistic, and esoteric healing arts. A lot of RN's were (and are) into Reiki.

In '99, I was 29, and working in a private psych hospital. I was taking a break in the back room. I was suddenly jolted by the loud sound of shattering glass, and a messy series of thuds. I ran into the Nursing Station. The glass window to the patient corridor had been shattered, and my rapidly cycling, schizophrenic patient, was slowly trying to get up from the floor, and staring at the medication cart. I was alone in the station, I had to control my patient, for both our safety, and he was ignoring my commands. I had no choice but to try and bring him flat to the ground, and restrain him. I started shouting "Code Green!" (Which was the hospital, all staff code, for patient restraint.) I noticed that the other RN on duty was running toward the Nurses Station, so I assumed she would use the phone, and page the Code Green. I jumped on the patient. He was delusional, tough, and combative.

The RN arrived in the Nursing Station, witnessed the struggle I was loosing, and I think she panicked. Instead of procedure, she pointed at the patient and I, with her arm outstretched, she started to subvocalize, and draw things in the air. I told her to help me. She said was helping. She was calming the patient. It was Reiki! I was astonished.

I had seen homeopathic remedies in the break rooms. Also, Nurses performing Reiki on each others migraines, and sores, or after a hard day. But, Reiki never affected me until my life was in danger, and the CEU's of mysticism, came home to roost!

A Mental Health Worker came out of an elevator, and called the Code Green. Other staff arrived and helped me with restraint of the patient, as well as the Reiki Nurse, who I guess decided that her effort had worked in calming the patient enough for her to physically come to my aid. I wrote the RN and her "Fire Finger" up, and nothing came of it. The incident was the camels straw. 2 months later, I fled from 6 years of Nursing, and changed careers.

Your article on Reiki was kind of validating for me. Thanks.

James R Johnson

26 Jul 1999
I'm not sure what your information source is, but I wish to comment on part of the entry for Reiki at your site.

Reiki healers differ from acupuncturists in that they do not try to unblock > a person's ki but to channel the ki of the universe so that the person heals.

Actually, by channeling the Reiki energy, a practitioner does unblock the chakras and natural flow of energy in the patient.

The reiki master claims to be able to draw upon the energy of the universe and actually increase his or her own energy while performing a healing.

NO! Reiki practitioners never claim to be channeling anything but Reiki. Personal energy is NEVER used. Anyone who claims to be using personal energy to heal is NOT using Reiki.

reply: I didn't mean to imply that the reiki healer uses personal energy to heal, but that the healer's energy increases during the healing....or so some healers say.

Reiki healers claim to channel reiki into "diseased" individuals for "rebalancing." If the healing fails it is because the patient is resisting the healing energy.

Reiki practitioners channel Reiki into anyone desiring it. Most importantly, any ethical practitioner will tell the client/patient that Reiki is NEVER a substitute for medical treatment, but only a way of assisting healing. Reiki DOES NOT guarantee a cure, and the ethical practitioner WILL NEVER tell the patient that they are to blame if they are not healed. They will, however, explain that Reiki energy always works toward what is the highest good for the patient. That is not always a cure... sometimes it is just an acceptance of dealing with an incurable disease.

reply: I'm glad to hear this, but some of your colleagues apparently do not agree with you.

I humbly suggest that you do a bit more research into Reiki and update your misleading and erroneous entry.
Lisa Rodrigues Reiki Master/Teacher, Usui Shiki Ryoho

reply: Take a browse of some of the sites I link to on the reiki page. You may be surprised at what your colleagues are claiming.

larrow.gif (1051 bytes) reiki


larrow.gif (1051 bytes)All Reader Comments

This page was designed by Cristian Popa.